How/why does MS shorten livespan?

I keep reading stuff about MS shortening lives by between 5 and 15 years! I have read several different things and some very similar. I have read that it can shorten lives of women with MS by about 6 years and men by about 11.

I am wanting to know more as I enter a new phase in my journey.

All these sites tell of shortened lives but none of them seem to say why or how. One website said some deaths are due to infections.

Do MS meds cause any shortening of lives?

Is it MS-related illnesses that cause shortened .lifespan?

Is it suicide?

All of the above? …or something else?

Forgot to add that this post was prompted by reading posts (too many over the past week or so) by people who have lost a loved one at end stage MS!

i dont really i know i always thought the increased rate of suicide brought the average lifespan down of MS sufferers or maybe infection from bed sores when people get really bad, but idont think the disease itself can cause anyone to sieze up and die although im not exactly a medical expert. Who knows im not thinkin about that stage yet and i hope i dont have to think about for a while.

My mind doesn’t just run away with me sometimes, it gallops!

I have so many questions that just spring up and want to write them down or type them out before I forget them.

Have also been doing a spot of reading tonight about CCSVI. It’s all so mindboggling! The more I read the more questions open up. It’s like an ever INcreasing circle.

yeah i think about all the time too and although knowledge is good, sometimes i think i need to let go.

ive looked into the ccsvi thing and ive decided that i dont believe its the way to go, just a hunch really.

think these stem cells might help in the future though, i look into that sh*t on a daily basis, its kinda taking over my life

Yep, I read and search for answers about MS every waking hour. It is consuming me at the moment. Maybe it’s because it’s all new to me. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a DX and am trying to find answers or other conditions it may be.

I don’t know, it’s just overwhelming at times.

Hi, I was the same as you, when I first was told it could be ms I trawled the Internet and got a bit obsessed with it all and finding every possible bit of info I could find. I was lucky I was dx within 6 months so the agonising wait seemed quickly over. I am a lot more relaxed about it all now, don’t get me wrong I still have very down days but I do try and take it as it comes. Sometimes you can scare yourself to death reading all the worst possible scenario’s, and I have learnt that ms varies so much for each individual. I am not sure about the early death ratio but I am sure we all have or do things that could possibly shorten our lives so I wouldn’t worry too much. Take care and keep strong. Karen xx

OK, some of this doesn’t make very pleasant reading, but you did ask…

So, for a start, the suicide rate is higher. Although this is not strictly “MS shortening life”, it tends to pull down the figures for average life expectancy, because they include deaths from ALL causes - not only those directly attributable to MS.

Secondly, for those who become severely disabled, lack of mobility tends to pave the way for opportunistic infections: lung infections, or unrinary infections.

This is not specific to MS, but true of any illness that tends to incapacitate.

If you excluded the suicides and those very severely affected, you would probably find the majority - those in the middle - don’t have such a very markedly reduced life expectancy.

Of course, being on various prescription medications for years probably has some effect. I take more painkillers than is healthy, for example, and suppose they will ultimately cause liver damage or something. But I can’t do without them, so don’t really have a choice.


Thanks Karen and Tina.

I suppose I kind of expected those answers anyway, Tina. I don’t go for all the ‘sugar-coated’ rubbish. Just give it to me straight, is my motto. At least then you can deal with it (or not) but are given the truth anyway. It’s up to us how we deal with it.

Yes, I am sure we all do/have done things to shorten our lives anyway. For example: I have smoked on and off for all of my adult life (given up again 18 months now) and for a good part of my teens too. I was also a terrible binge-drinker daily in my teens and early twenties to the point where I would be sick and usually pass out (I was trying to escape my terrible home-life by drinking myself into oblivion).

Now I try to make up for that by eating a balanced healthy diet, not smoking or drinking and taking regular excercise. Although I do cram as much chocolate into my diet as I can! :slight_smile:

It’s just that people keep saying “It’s not the end”, “At least you aren’t going to die”. “It’s not terminal illness”… but I think actually it can be for some!

I have read posts by people who have lost a parent or spouse from MS. So it does happen. Maybe rarely, maybe they were an older generation without today’s meds etc but it does happen and it can be the end of your lfe, especially if, as I have also read, some people with MS can’t even speak, eat or move any part of their body. That, in itself, for me personally, would be the end.

I would want to take a trip to Dignitas in Switzerland, no doubt about it.

Am not being morbid here, just honest.

Hi, now then, funny you should be asking this and that I have seen it today.

The subject of wether or not MS is a terminal illness, has cropped up for me this week.

Ive just had a weeks respite stay in a hospice. Their main customers are folk who sadly, have cancer which cannot be cured and is shortening their lives considerably. … so these patients are receiving palliative care.

ive been told i cant go for any more respite breaks, unless i am in fact dying.

I said that MS isn`t thought of as a terminal illness. But as Anitra has said, other complications can add to an already weakened MS ravaged body, so then it might be life shortening.

I`ve had PPMS like symptoms for 14 yrs and remain un-diagnosed, after numerous tests and seeing 13 neuros!

Try not to dwell too much on the negatives, as youve got many years of enjoying life, Im sure.

luv Pollx

Thank you Poll.

How awful you have no diagnosis after such a long time and have such disabilities from it. It’s outrageous!

Is the fact that you are undiagnosed the reason you are having trouble getting further respite?

With all my recent questions: I think it’s because I feel like I have moved on slightly from where I was a month or so ago. Still not fully recovered from my episode in March and overdoing things on Sunday has left me in much pain and aching muscles and has left me feeling a bit down. Everyone goes through different phases and cycles of emotions and it’s good that we don’t all go through the same ones at the same time because others who are feeling ‘up’ can often help those feeling ‘down’ although sometimes you just want to be left alone to feel down.

Now I am past my down phase I feel I want to know more. The questions I maybe dared not ask before?

I’m sure we have all asked these questions or maybe kept them in our heads but I like to get things off my chest when I feel ready and ask questions I maybe was not brave enough to ask before.

The best places to learn are from those who are living it.

well said, not sure what death rates from ms are, but I expect they are not as high as they could be for a couple of reasons, cause of death may be put down to chest infections, bed sore infections etc instead of ms? but let’s put into perspective and this is not a sugar coating honest, there are many of people with ms living well into a mature age who are living productive lives. I know someone who is 70 and whilst having to make adjustments still enjoys life and a pint after a spot of gardening. we are in an age where there have been many leaps in medicine and dmd’s all of which help long term. I understand the need for information I do I can be the same but I truly believe how we are mentally effects us physically. I do have grey days but on whole try very hard to keep positive. I am also a diabetic on a pump and in the 37 years that I have had it treatments have advanced beyond belief. I used to have to use a glass syringe and metal needles that were boiled and soaked in meths! this will not beat me and I plan on irritating my kids late into my life, and drinking much to much wine! take care xxx


I read a few posts, so sorry if i’m saying the same… My grandfather had Ms and he didn’t pass away till his mid 70’s… he had a stroke which he didn’t recover from, he was in a whel chair for most of my life, my point here is he was bad and still had a good life!!! family and friends and keeping his mind healthy is how he coped… A heathly mind is the way forward, reading everything possible just leaves unanswered questions which leaves us stressing, I don’t have a dx yet, I go for every test possible including a lumber on the 24th july… I’m very lucky to get all my appointments at once, living on a island as some benefits!!! Anyhow, my partners grandfather also had ms, he passed in his late 70’s from mrsa!!! he like my grandfather was a do’er, kept his hands and mind busy! he apparently could strip a car and put it back together even at 70…

keep a healthy mind and you to can have a happy life even with ms!!

take care